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‘If you like ice cream you like baseball’: Behind Short ‘n’ Sweet’s bond with the Anglers

by Anish Vasudevan, 08-17-2022

 ‘If you like ice cream you like baseball’: Behind Short ‘n’ Sweet’s bond with the Anglers

The old Veterans Field scoreboard was unmistakable. The piece of sheet metal, covered in holes to showcase the numbers 0-9 through light bulbs surrounded by tin cans, immediately grabbed Janet Newton’s attention as it was lying in the back of a truck.

“It was going to the dump,” Janet said.

With the filming of the 2001 movie “Summer Catch,” Veterans Field was getting an updated scoreboard. The same year marked Janet’s 30th anniversary with John Newton, and she asked if the truck could add an extra stop — the Newtons’ family-owned ice cream shop Short ‘n’ Sweet — before making its way to the dump.

A year later, John and Janet were thinking about selling Short ‘n’ Sweet and needed to find a new home for the 14-foot scoreboard. After a few exchanges of business cards and phone calls, the scoreboard made its way into the back of a truck once again. This time, it went to Cooperstown, set to be a part of a CCBL exhibit because of the number of future MLB players who played in its shadow.

So the scoreboard doesn’t sit on the floor anymore in Short ‘n’ Sweet, but the relationship between the Newtons, Short ‘n’ Sweet and the Chatham Anglers has remained for the last 20 years. John and Janet sold Short ‘n’ Sweet before this summer to their son-in-law Ian MacBride, who continued the partnership with the organization, including sponsoring every triple during the season.

“We’ve been well received by the community, people are happy that it’s stayed in the family and that we’re keeping it as long as we have,” MacBride said.

The Newtons’ relationship with the Anglers started before Short ‘n’ Sweet opened, when they utilized the old schoolhouse as a toy factory, specializing in dollhouses, for local craft fairs. At the time, the NCAA had a rule which required players in the CCBL to have jobs throughout the summer season. John’s job was to get them jobs.

Most players worked in landscaping since they could finish before games, though Janet added that some of the “premadonnas” didn’t like to get their hands dirty. Because Short ‘n’ Sweet was most busy during games, players didn’t work at the store.


John serves himself some ice cream in front of numerous Chatham Athletics and baseball memorabilia plastered on the wall.

Short ‘n’ Sweet’s ice cream supply has come from the same place, Richardson Farms, since Short 'n' Sweet’s opening in 1991, providing “real dairy” ice cream for Chatham residents. Richardson Farms is also behind the peculiar names of the over 50 flavors at Short ‘n’ Sweet like “Death by Chocolate” or “Phantomberry.” John and Janet further specialized the ice cream, naming the sizes after their favorite sport.

“We use baseball to describe the sizes: single, double, triple,” John said. “It’s just fun … if you like ice cream you like baseball.”

But there are more ways to get on base or score in baseball. The Newtons added a home run, which is valued at 5 ½ scoops, and a bunt, which is a 1 ½ scoops. The single, double and triple scoops are self-explanatory, but John and Janet spent a lot of their summers explaining the meaning behind the other two sizes.

“When you go to the ice cream shop and say ‘I want a little one,’ there’s no interaction,” Janet said. “But here, you get to talk about it and say, ‘I’ll have a bunt. And by the way what is a bunt?’ In retrospect the interaction has been fun, but it gets tiresome.”

John and Janet have a “tsunami” of items scattered throughout the inside of the schoolhouse, displaying remnants from their time as toy manufacturers and cardboard cutouts of “Wizard of Oz” characters. John’s scrapbooks filled with 1950s New York Yankees baseball cards sit in a milk crate in their house above the shop, but the Anglers memorabilia is displayed in glass cases bordering the actual ice cream and atop the serving area.

“The stuff that is down there is mostly A’s stuff, autographed baseballs from each team,” John said. “Unfortunately, most of those balls have faded out. Evan Longoria is still eligible.”

Once games were broadcasted on the Cape Cod Baseball Network, the Newtons blasted the commentary throughout the shop. When it’s busy, it’s hard for the employees to listen to a full play, but it provides a perfect background for the store, giving fans on their way to or from the game the chance to stay tuned in.

After video streaming started, they projected it on a TV in the back corner, occasionally messing with customers who were just at the game saying that they saw them on the big screen. Customers stand on the other side of the room or sit at the old wooden desks to watch.


John and Janet now watch most home games at Veterans Field, heading to the matchups with style.

“People like to eat a little ice cream and watch the game,” Janet said. “There’s no bugs.”

John and Janet could hear familiar names on the broadcasts as well, hosting players since the year before Short ‘n’ Sweet opened. Former Pepperdine catcher Scott Vollmer was the first to stay with the Newtons, residing in their house before moving to his own shack with his college teammate and Chatham pitcher Steve Duda behind the shop a few years later.

Vollmer and Duda would coach at the annual Chatham Baseball Clinic before coming back to the store for an afternoon treat. After games, the duo would come back as well. Vollmer opted for Mint Chocolate Chip while Duda preferred Black Raspberry, a flavor he’s had to drive over an hour to find in Southern California. Vollmer said Short ‘n’ Sweet was “a part of the experience” of playing in Chatham.

The pair won the CCBL championship with Chatham months after winning the NCAA Championship with Pepperdine in 1992. But their time with the Anglers wouldn’t have been possible without John and Janet, who drove the Californians where they needed to go and showed them around Chatham.

“They are the reasons why you want to come back,” Duda said about John and Janet.

The Newtons still run into Vollmer and Duda, mostly on the West Coast, where they spend the winter. When former Anglers manager Rich Hill coached at the University of San Diego, the whole group went to games, sitting in one of the most “beautiful” stadiums sanctioned by the San Diego Padres.

But after selling the place to Macbridge, John and Janet have been to the majority of games at Veterans Field.

“From not being able to go to games at all to being able to go to any game, that’s great,” Janet said.